ActionScript vs HTML5

ActionScript is an object-oriented programming language used primarily for making Flash content and software. For a long time, Flash with ActionScript has become many people’s favorite way to draw images and animations for web content. However, the introduction of HTML5 has made some people rethink their methods. HTML5 introduces a new element called “canvas”, which is essentially a ‘canvas’ on top of which you can draw images and animations using JavaScript and CSS. Below, we are going to see the comparisons between ActionScript and HTML5 in order to better understand the differences between the two, as well as to determine whether it is better to draw using ActionScript or HTML5.

Software Support
Before HTML5 became a thing, Flash with its ActionScript had been loved by many web animators because of its platform-independent nature. It can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux, then Solaris, BlackBerry Tablet OS, Chrome OS, Android, and Pocket PC. This is because Flash is not rendered by the web browser; instead, it is rendered by the free proprietary software Adobe Flash Player. This way, regardless of the web browser and platform that the client uses, the programmer can be certain the content can be rendered in the right way. However, iOS does not support Flash, and by seeing how things are going so far, we can assume that iOS will never support Flash.

HTML5 has introduced a new element called “canvas”. With JavaScript, sometimes CSS is also used along, you can draw on the canvas in pretty much the same way as you would with ActionScript and Flash. Of course, there are some syntactic differences, but you will not find much problem if you have some background in ActionScript and you already understand how to write in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS – the three core components of web content. Obviously, all web browsers support HTML. They support HTML5 to varying degrees, but the majorities already support it, including Chrome, FireFox, Opera, Safari, Edge, IE, Opera Mini, Android Browser, and iOS Safari. Yes, iOS supports HTML5.

Still, many public websites and web-based apps and games that have been using Flash do not plan to change to HTML5. That’s because changing the code, even with all the Flash-to-HTML5 translators now available, is a lot of work. So, Flash is not going to die any time soon.

Perhaps the weakness of using Flash is that it requires extra processing power. You see, you have to install a Flash player first in order to enjoy any Flash content. Afterwards, in addition to the web browser, the Flash player also consumes your computer’s processing power when opening a Flash content. The processing power needed is relatively heavy, and this leads to performance issues. In fact, one of the reasons why Apple insists not give iOS some Flash support is because of such performance issues. On the other hand, the multimedia content provided by HTML5 is much lighter, allowing much better performance. YouTube has also changed their default player from Flash to HTML5 in order to support more devices and improve performance.

Features and Security
In general, HTML5 is already considered as a good substitute for Flash, but there are still some features that are only available on Flash. For example, HTML5 does not have font support, text anti-aliasing, and text tab stops. HTML5 does not have data compression, bitmap manipulation, and file system access. Flash has all those.

But drawing using HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS tends to be more secure than Flash. Many Flash vulnerabilities allow the execution of arbitrary code, which is far more damaging than browser exploits. While JavaScript exploits generally can only manipulate the client while viewing a particular page and can’t persist after the page is closed, Flash exploits can infect clients with malware to enable the attacker to have control over the client.

- A programming language for Flash- A version of HTML that introduces “canvas”
- Requires a Flash player to run, may have performance issues- Rendered by the web browser without having to install additional software, much lighter
- Not supported by iOS- Supported by iOS
- Has some features only available on Flash- Does not have some features that Flash can do
- Flash has more security vulnerabilities- Generally has better security

Although Flash is not going to die any time soon, you may want to learn or start using HTML5 to make web content. It has better prospects for the future than learning Flash with ActionScript. HTML5 offers several advantages over Flash, most notably the better performance, security, and software support.

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